SUMMARY: Pfizer will earn over 26 billion dollars from their COVID vaccine, while Moderna and J&J also look to their vaccines for more profit dollars. The suggestion by Pfizer’s CEO that drug pricing negotiations with the government would slow innovation is PR doubletalk.
Recently Pfizer’s CEO sent a video message to company employees urging them to fight proposed government drug price negotiations and expressing frustration with Congress, considering using the projected savings to help pay for a $3.5 trillion social spending package.
Here is his rationale:
“When we asked the Pfizer colleagues to develop a Covid-19 vaccine in less than a year, you did. When we asked you to rapidly expand manufacturing so we can produce 3, 4 billion doses per year, you did it,” Bourla said. “Now, we are asking you to do something equally important to educate yourself regarding policies that will help our breakthroughs get into the hands of those who need them while protecting our sector’s ability to develop those breakthroughs in the first place.”
That is our horse shit.
The CEO of Pfizer claims the COVID-19 vaccine was developed in less than a year, but there are no vaccines against viruses and diseases that have existed for far longer. Operation Warp Speed, the private-public partnership initiated by the White House during the pandemic, may give the impression the COVID-19 vaccine developed overnight. Still, in actuality, it depends on research dating back nearly 100 years.
Pfizer moved quickly on the vaccine development because they saw a huge opportunity to make a lot of money while publicly positioning the product as a way to help us. Remember when J&J asked for help from Pfizer on their vaccine? And Pfizer said “no”.
The government is the largest purchaser of prescription drugs, and they should be allowed to negotiate prices with pharma companies whose profit margins are the highest of any industry.
Then there is the tale of Biogen. Yesterday STAT news reported that because of the slow uptake of their Alzheimer’s drug, they might be forced to change business plans which include layoffs. To me, this says that the approval of the drug WAS about money, not patients.
Pfizer has already raised the price of their COVID vaccine twice, and more price increases are coming. I understand that big pharma is big business, but please don’t try and sell us that bullshit that you need the money for innovation. You need the money for shareholders.
If tomorrow Medicare started negotiating prices with big pharma, I do not doubt that they would survive and continue to make huge profits. Pfizer’s CEO hopes that we’re too dumb to understand the truth, but he’s wrong.